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"Her face was smooth and unwrinkled, but aged beyond even the age of the witches: she had seen thousands of years pass, and the cruelty and misery of all of them had formed the hateful expression on her features. But as the travellers saw her more clearly, she became even more repulsive. Her eye-sockets were clotted with flithy slime, and the redness of her lips was caked and crusted as if she had vomited anicent blood again and again. Her matted, filthy black hair hung down to her shoulders; her jagged claws gripped the stone fiercely; her powerful dark wings were folded along her back, and a drift of putrescent stink wafted from her every time she moved."
—A description of Gracious Wings[src]

Gracious Wings, originally named No-Name, was one of the harpies in the land of the dead. Gracious Wings was the main harpy who led Will Parry to the highest point of the land of the dead to cut a way out for the ghosts.[1]

BiographyEdit

Thousands of years before No-Name met Will and Lyra Silvertongue, the harpies were given the ability to see the worst in all the dead by the Authority and the harpies fed on it. It was the only thing they had to feed on.

When the harpy saw Will and Lyra arrive at the entrance to the land of the dead, the harpy shrieked at them, saying they were still alive. The harpy blocked them from getting in through the door to the place where te ghosts were. No-Name then turned to Will and told him that his mother was alone and that they were going to send her nightmares. At that, the Gallivespians, who had been travelling with the children, rode their dragonflies towards the creature and the Chevalier Tialys jabbed his spur into the harpy with no efffect.

Lyra then offered to tell her a story about how they had got to the world of the dead if she would let them through. No-Name listened for a while before sensing that Lyra was telling a lie at which point she swooped down at Lyra and caught her claws in Lyra's head, drawing blood.[2]

After the group ran through the door, the harpies followed them, scaring the ghosts that had crowded around the children to listen to what they had to say. The children looked up at them, keeping their ground, and the harpies swooped upwards before they could touch them. After the children moved on to find the ghost of Roger Parslow, No-Name followed them and began to talk to Lyra. She told the story of the harpies and that the harpies would make the land of the dead hell because the children were going to release all of the ghosts.

The Lady Salmakia and the Chevalier Tialys then made a bargain with the harpy. They all agreed that the harpies should lead the ghosts that came down to the land of the dead to the window that Lyra and Will were planning on making in exchange for stories from the ghosts (an exception was made for infants). The harpies agreed to show the group a point where they could cut through to the world above.[3]

Lyra-falling-Abyss

Lyra falling down the Abyss

No-Name led the children through a system of caves, by the light of Salmakia's dragonfly. Part way through the walk, a bomb went off, creating the Abyss. The children were dragged down the slope, not falling in, and had to be extra careful as they continued to walk along. Then, Lyra's foot began to slide and she fell helplessly down towards the Abyss.

As the began to fall, No-Name came down, catching hold of her in her jaws and beating her wings hard to keep them both up before taking Lyra back, rescuing her. She got much appreciation and Lyra wrapped her arms around No-Name, kissing her. They walked along more carefully from then on until they came to point where the could cut the window to the mulefa world.[1]

After resting and letting the ghosts out, the group went to the place where they could open a window to the Republic of Heaven where some of the ghosts could help fight for Lord Asriel. Whilst on the way there, Lyra turned to No-Name and said that she thought the harpy deserved a name for her bravery, like Iorek Byrnison awarded Lyra a name, and so gave the harpy the name Gracious Wings.

They exchanged a few more words, saying that they would see each other again when Lyra died. Lyra kissed the harpy on both cheeks again before going through, with Will to the Republic of Heaven.[4]

Physical descriptionEdit

The harpy was the size of a vulture with the head and breasts of a woman. She had black hair that hung down to her shoulders and a ravaged face.

Abilities and skillsEdit

  • Seeing the worst in the dead: Like all harpies, Gracious Wings was given the power, by the Authority, to see the worst in all the dead: all the bad things that they had done in their lifetime. The harpies were possibly able to sense lies and send nightmares to the living too.

AppearancesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 26
  2. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 21
  3. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 22
  4. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 29
World of the dead
Locations AbyssHolding areaLand of the deadSuburbs of the land of the dead
Natives BoatmanGracious WingsMarthaMagdaPeterMartha and Peter's sonMartha and Peter's childMartha and Peter's baby
Ghosts Castor's humanDirk JansenJohn ParryLee ScoresbyMatapan's humanRoger ParslowSandling's human
Important DeathsHarpiesGhostsThe Authority
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